|Central Upstate New York state, with its rolling hills, early fall foliage and 19th C. farmland.|
|Cochicum selections bloom in their second year of planting along an old stone wall, in the garden of Kathy Purdy, author of the gardening blog Cold Climate Gardening.|
Being in Toronto two weeks ago, then in Atlanta last weekend, and now, in Ithaca New York, speaking at the North American Rock Garden Society Adirondack Chapter at Cornell University this past weekend weekend, has provided a nice perspective on how different autumn can be in various parts of North America ( I think I choose New York state!). Here are some thoughts and highlights of the past two weeks, as a start to focus back on my own garden chores, as winter blooming bulb orders have arrived from Telos Rare Bulbs, and I need to pot up some new collections of Oxalis before it gets dark tonight. Enjoy.
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|This looked like a Fisher Price toy farm play set.|
Now for the details. This past week, I did take some personal time away from both my garden and my job, to attend a garden blogging conference in Atlanta, which ended up being not what I expected at all ( in a great way!). I was able to meet some amazing people in the plant world ( Dan Hinkley, of course) and in the blogging world some of the other most active and friendly garden bloggers you could ever imagine - such as ( Amy Stewart from Garden Rant, , Rochelle Greayer from Studio G, (who is also my neighbor!), the stunning Teresa O'Connor of Seasonal Wisdom, gorgeous Robin Plaskoff Horton of Urban Gardens, the lovely and sweet Dee Nash from Red Dirt Ramblings and yes, the equally stunning, sweet and gorgeous Hank Jenkins of Plant Provocateur. ( I hope I didn't miss anyone! Plus, I was so lucky to have a fabulous dinner with one of our hosts, who happens to also be a wine expert - Adam Japko of Wine Zag ( hey, grapes are a plant, right?). I also met with some leading staff of some leading gardening magazines ( Fine Gardening, the new owners of Garden Design) and the guys (Todd and Tony) from Snug Harbor Farm in Maine). Atlanta was a great location for the event, even though we never left the hotel ( lots of bar time, you know - "networking".
After a couple of days back at the office, I then had to leave for Ithaca, NY to speak at the Adirondack Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society at Cornell, which provided a nice surprise - a chance to meet another fellow blogger, Kathy Purdy of Cold Climate Gardening. I have never met Kathy before, even though her top blog ( number 2 on Blogrank - I am a measly number 15) was the first gardening blog I ever read when I first started writing this beast way back in 2006. Here are some pics of her amazing garden and her even more impressive Colchicum collection, which I was fortunate to see in it's prime.
|Upstate New York is surprisingly beautiful and rural.|
After my talk, I was in a hurry to drive home ( 5 hours) from the center for of New York State, so I declined the many offers to tour gardens in the area, and dinner, but as I discovered, there is no easy nor direct way back to Boston from the Utica area. Kathy was kind enough to let me follow her, as she lived an hour away, but in the same direction that I needed to travel, and she promised to get me close to the highway that I needed to reach. The rolling hills, the early autumn forest just beginning to change color, acres of corn still golden-green, and the most iconic rural farm scenery one could ever imagine all became almost too much eye candy, and the fact that it was late September with bright, blue skies, didn't hurt either. I almost drove off of the road.
|A white Colchicum speciosum 'album; in the garden, and collection of Kathy Purdy.|
Kathy then turned off, and rolled down her window, thanking me for a nice talk, and then pointing me in the right direction to get to Rt 88. "Unless you want to come see my garden - and my colchicum collection. I live about 2 miles down this road". I jumped at the chance, even though I knew that it would add another hour to my drive.
As I was driving around central New upstate New York, I kept thinking about what it would be like to live here ( I think about that often!), and after seeing Kathy's home and garden, I think I am convinced. The time to move will be soon!
|Garden writer, blogger and plantswoman - Kathy Purdy, in front of her 19th C. farm house in central upstate New York.|
Kathy has an impressive collection of Colchicum which she has been collecting for a few years now. Even to my somewhat trained eyes, it was hard to see the differences between many of the species and selections she had, but I knew most of the names (from sources like Odyssey Bulbs), but ordering such quantities as Kathy has, is still on my to-do list ( for like, when I move to Vermont or upstate!).
You know those rare moments when you suddenly realize that you are about to experience something extraordinary? Well, when I drove into Kathy's driveway as saw her collections of plants, her garden still in full glory, and her mid-nineteenth century farm house - I knew that I may be staying longer than an hour! So, big deal - I'll have to drive home in the dark.
|Kathy has a secret spot on the edge of her garden, near the woodland - a tumbling mountain stream. It's where she goes to clear her brain, and to find a peaceful moment with nature, away from the computer and I'm sure, even the garden.|
Kathy is one of those bloggers who is not just a talented writer ( Oh, how I wish I could write half as well), but she is also a real horticulturist. A plant geek to truly keeps a garden that is worthy of a garden tour, and a plant society tour. Full of beauty, charm and horticultural interest, I finally get to ask the question that others often ask about me. "How do you find time to do it all, Kathy?"
|Annual Phlox can be challenging to grow, but these, grown by Kathy's daughter, are still blooming. They remind me of a chapter in Ruth Stout's book, The No Work Garden Book, where she wrote about how to grow annual phlox to perfection. I'd say, they are pretty perfect.|
|A gushing stream can be better than a glass of wine after a long day at work. Of course, it is probably better with a glass of wine ( or a bottle!).|